Not quite sure what you are saying Martyn. Firstly it’s a recommendation for Ideal Schools based on the fact they have offers on Sage software and finance leading me to believe it was the fully licenced software deal that made your mind up, yet you close with a recommendation for VT Transactions. Are we to believe you are now regretting purchasing the Sage software as part of the deal?
As an ex employee of Sage I may be able to offer some guidance. Please bear in mind I no longer work for Sage so have no agenda or motive.
Sage Instant Accounts is a very good software package but is limited in its functionality and also limited for use with just one company and one user. It might tick the boxes for passing some exams but is of no use to a Bookkeeper or Accountant, or even a company requiring more than one user or member of staff. A course covering Sage Instant Accounts will not be sufficient if intending to seek employment or take on work from companies using Sage 50 or Sage 50 Professional. This I can quote from experience as I got my Sage Instant Accounts certification and I cant even get an interview. The job sites are all asking for Sage 50 Professional experience or certification as it is still the industry standard. I think its refered to as Occupational Standards these days.
I have worked in a few accounts departments over the years but alas have no qualifications, so I too am looking into taking the ICB exams up to Level 2 initially and one thing for sure in my mind is that unless I also gain certification in Sage 50 Professional I will be limiting my skills and opportunities whether it be in employment or setting up on my own. Now this is a dilema
Do I choose to go it alone without a training company for the ICB exams and purchase the Sage 50 training seperately? Do I go with a low cost training company or one offering all sorts of deals like mouse mats and free courses and software that are of no real use? or go with a company offering the Sage 50 Professional training as part of the package? What is of more value. Knowledge skills and certification or software?
Sage instant Accounts Software only costs around £120 but it would be £120 down the drain if I only use it to take the ICB courses and exam and have no further use for it afterwards.
Sage 50 Professional costs over £1100 even at a discounted rate so you can see the difference and also why the software is time limited to the duration of study.
I doubt I will use Sage if I set up on my own as it is expensive, and yes VT looks pretty good along with a few others but I believe Sage 50 Professional in terms of certification will open a lot more doors for me than Instant Accounts or any of the others.